WITCH-HUNT GAME?MPs Grill IGG Kamya over life style audit move

IGG Betty Kamya

Lawmakers on Parliament’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee have grilled the Inspector General of Government (IGG) on her proposed life style audit as a measure to curb the rampant corruption in Uganda, saying the scheme could be used to witch hunt civil servants.

This was during the consideration of 2022/2023 Ministerial policy statement for the Inspectorate of Government, where MPs tasked the IGG to explain how life style audit will be conducted and what mechanisms have been put in place to shield civil servants from witch hunt.

Stephen Baka (Bukhooli North) tasked Beti Kamya the Inspector General of Government to explain the justification for life style audit, wondering why she has chosen to go after complex corruption cases yet there are Ugandans who are openly stealing and sinking the stolen money in real estate sector.

He said:“You have failed to openly fish people who are openly thieves. Life style means people are very sharp and you can’t detect how they are stealing so you are going to see how they behave with their lives. It means they are discreet and sharp at the point of stealing that you can’t know but Ugandans aren’t sharp, these people openly steal. How are you going to manage life style audit in people who are openly corrupt?”

The same concern was raised by Joanne Okia (Madi-Okollo DWR) who asked for clarification on how the scheme will be implemented.

“I think sometimes it can go into a witch hunt, maybe some clear guidelines for the lifestyle audit and how do you choose which cases to investigate because I am sure the cases reported might exceed the capacity, how do you choose the cases to follow up?” asked Okia.

However, Kamya defended the life style audit remarking that it is one of the methods the IGG used in pinning former Principal Accountant Office of Prime Minister Geoffrey Kazinda because he failed to explain to court how he had acquired his wealth.

She said: “Corruption by nature happens under the table, through proxies. It is very difficult to take a case to court and make it stand in court. Through the lifestyle audit, Kazinda was convicted because he couldn’t explain the amount of wealth he had given his main source of income. So life style audit shifts the burden on the suspect to explain how they got the wealth and I can assure you, it is going to work.”

Kamya also asked Parliament to prioritise the fight against corruption, citing a survey by the Inspectorate of Government commissioned revealing that Uganda loses Shs20Trn annually to corruption related crimes.

She explained: “A successful war on corruption could save this country Shs20Trn that is half the country’s annual budget. You realize that fighting corruption should be the most important activity in Uganda but for five consecutive years the IG has been given money for salary and for being there but not for doing the work which they are supposed to do which they are supposed to do which is eliminating corruption.”

Anne Twinomugisha Muhairwe, Deputy IGG also defended life style audit saying the Inspectorate has also taken interest in life style of public servants who have worked for many years but are still using public transport, despite owning expensive cars and buildings.

She said: “Also we are aware of the so called big fish who live like pompous by day and kings by night. So if you are a public servant and have worked for a certain time, we expect you to live a certain standard. We have public officers who use boda bodas, corona cars and yet we know they own prados and own very expensive buildings, so we shall come for them. So we know all the tricks, we shall be upping our game.”

In the 2022/2023 national budget, the IG office has been allocated Shs67.737Bn an increment from the Shs53.437Bn the agency was allocated in the 2021/2022 budget.

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